What STAR WARS Means To Me

Given all the chatter that’s sprung up about Star Wars since THE FORCE AWAKENS was released, I thought I’d post a little piece regarding it and my history with the franchise.

Ahem ahem…

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What Star Wars Means To Me

If you’ve heard this story from me before, please bear with me. I repeat it here now so that it’s fully and officially on the record.

STAR WARS, what we would later come to alternatively call EPISODE IV and A NEW HOPE (depending on your level of geekery), was released upon the world in May of 1977. I was four and a half years old. I clearly remember my parents taking me and my little brother Scott (he wouldn’t have even been two at the time) to the local drive-in movie theater to see it. The weather was clear, the playground up near the screen was filled with kids swinging and clambering over monkey bars, and the smell of buttered popcorn drifted through the air like the promise of a great summer to come.

Being so young, I really had no idea what the movie was we were there to see. Movies hadn’t penetrated my fledgling mind yet, nor had any books my parents read to me or shows on the television. I was a tabula rasa, just waiting for the right thing to come and spark my juvenile imagination. My joy at being at the drive-in came mostly from the play area. What little boy doesn’t love sand boxes and seesaws? But, when the sun went down, it was back to the family car to watch whatever film we’d come to see. So long as I had a small bag of popcorn and a coke, I didn’t really care what it was. But, when the projector burst to life like some sort of Asgardian artifact and that famous Twentieth-Century Fox fanfare poured forth from Angelic horns, my life was forever, irrevocably changed.

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I couldn’t read the words that floated down the whitewashed movie screen ahead of us, but sitting on the roof of my parents’ car it didn’t matter. I knew they were important by the music and the way they marched with steady purpose through a field of stars that looked so much like the stars twinkling over my head at that very moment. And then when the camera panned down to reveal a spaceship racing away as lights flashed against it, only then to watch as the vessel that followed it thundered above me like a metallic monster that grew larger and larger and larger with every moment, a leviathan hounding after a goldfish. It was amazing, and the lights reflected like stars in my little eyes.

Nothing, though, could have prepared me for the introduction of Darth Vader, a figure that haunts me to this day, mostly in various plastic forms around my office. After all the whiteness of the small ship’s corridors and the Stormtroopers that quickly poured into it, Vader’s immense blackness sent chills through me. Sitting on the roof of that car, I felt true fear for the first time. Later, when Luke and Han were doing their fumbling best to save the most beautiful woman I’d ever seen in my young life, I felt joy, and love, and excitement. When the end credits finally rolled, there really aren’t words to describe how I felt. To be honest, I don’t know if even I – after all these years – truly understand just how I felt. But I do know this – I was changed. The boy that crawled back into his parents’ car and went home to dream of heroes in white and villainous evil in black, was not the same boy who played in the sand just hours before.

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Before I move on, I need to say one final thing about the memory I just shared with you in the interest of full disclosure: I don’t know if it’s actually true. That, right there, is me being honest. I think it’s true. It certainly feels true. When I cast my mind back nearly four decades, those are the things I honestly remember happening. My mother could come along and say, “Oh, son, that didn’t happen. We saw it…” and she would probably be right. But, that doesn’t matter. Not to me. I know my truth. Real or not, those memories are what I recall when I think about Star Wars. We all have mythologies about ourselves that we create using as much truth as we can and then filling in the rest with “that’s how it should have happened” bits. For me, those shared memories are my Star Wars origin story. That is where my heroic journey began. Now on with the show…

Over the years since May of ’77 the level of my fanaticism waxed and waned. I played with all the toys when I was kid, turned my bedroom into Hoth and Endor, held X-Wings and ran through the yard with them held high as they soared after Tie-Fighters. But with each year that passed after RETURN OF THE JEDI’s end credits faded, so did my passion. I read the Marvel comic every once and awhile, and if I stumbled across some toy or item I’d never seen before I’d do my best to get it, but aside from the occasional book there just wasn’t much to keep the Star Wars fire burning. Such is the way of things.

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That doesn’t mean my love of science fiction and fantasy diminished, however. No no, my brother, not even a little. Because of Star Wars I launched into the fandom of all things nerdy with a greedy abandon. Lord of the Rings, Dungeons & Dragons, Dune, the Dragonlance novels, Close Encounters of the Third Kind, Star Trek, and on and on it went. When everyone else wanted to play sports, I wanted to keep my face in a book, or play a game, or rewatch CLASH OF THE TITANS. While my friends wanted to play Rambo out in the woods, I wanted to play as a Jedi or an X-Wing pilot. It was just the way I rolled.

As I’m sure you can imagine, all this led to me to being a pretty geeky kid. And yeah, sure, there were rough moments from time to time holding that freak flag aloft. If I had a dime for every book slapped out of my hands or every “you’re such a nerd” spat in my face I could have bought LucasFilm instead of Disney. It never got me down though, because it wasn’t as if I could be any other way. Geekdom is woven into my very DNA.

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Luckily for the Star Wars fan inside me, the fires returned when it was announced that new Star Wars books would soon be hitting bookstore shelves, starting with a new trilogy to cap off the movies! OMG! Just as I’m entering college, Star Wars is returning to my life, and in a way I adore – books. From there suddenly there were new games, new toys, even new music (Shadows of the Empire rocked!). And then came the Special Editions! And more books! And then…holy frijole…EPISODE I: THE PHANTOM MENACE. Say what you want now, but back then the idea of new movies shook the world. I have plenty of issues with the prequels, believe me, but I never make myself come down and hate them. As bad as some of it is, there’s good too, like Vader himself proved possible. Star Wars was once again a cultural phenomenon. I couldn’t have been happier.

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Star Wars has been a gift to me, and somehow it never ceases to give. Of all the things it’s led me to, however, none is more important to me than my writing. The books I’ve written that sit on someone’s bookcase wouldn’t exist were it not for Star Wars. My mind was blown open at a very impressionable age, and in the decades since I’ve absorbed as much science fiction and fantasy as possible across as broad a range of stories and characters as you can imagine. And all of that, once filtered through my mind, comes out in the novels and short stories I’ve written and will go on to write. I cannot thank George Lucas enough for what he created, and when I say that I mean both Star Wars and myself. He was practically a third parent, tending to my brain while mom and dad took care of the rest.

Does that sound odd, or perhaps excessive? Maybe. But, I do think Star Wars has led to me being a good person. Because of my travels across space and time I’ve met so many different types of people, both real and imagined, and through that I became a very accepting person. I don’t judge people because of what they look like, or who they love, or who they worship. We’re all children of the same long ago stars. I try to be empathetic, forgoing fear for love, like a Jedi should. Some of this I gained directly from Star Wars, and some came through the universes Star Wars led me to. When I say I am who I am because of Star Wars, I honestly mean it. And I think it’s a good thing.

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And perhaps that’s really it. I love who I am. I love that my mind is filled with alien worlds and ancient kingdoms. I love that my shelves are crowded with Stephen King books, Marvel movie box sets, and action figures that cover the gamut of science fiction and fantasy. When someone says, “Where do we go?” in my mind I follow it up with a mentally sung, “From here…” (That’s a Buffy reference, y’all). If a person asks me who my doctor is, I immediately want to answer with, “David Tennant.” And of course when anyone says, “I’ll try,” you know I want to tell them, “Try not. Do, or do not. There is no try.” My nerd runs deep, and it runs rough.

Some might say that all this makes it impossible for me to be unbiased when it comes to the Star Wars universe, and more specifically the movies. To them I answer, you’re right. I can’t. But that’s not because I lack the objectiveness needed to see the flaws and failings of the movies; rather, it’s because they aren’t just movies to me. They’re friends. Hell, they’re more than that – the Star Wars movies are my family. They’ve been with me practically my whole life, through good times and bad, giving me advice when I needed it, hope when I felt hopeless. I know the films aren’t perfect, but that doesn’t make me love them any less. I acknowledge all the problems with Star Wars, can understand why some might not like them, but I can do  all that without lessening my affection one iota. I don’t let the rough patches make me stumble, or get lost in plot imperfections. I accept the movies as they are and love them unconditionally just as a father loves his children, or as a brother loves his siblings. Is Jar Jar an idiot? Yeah, but he’s my idiot. Are Ewoks cool? Nope, but who cares, they’re still cute and still kill Stormtroopers. Could I have possibly written better dialogue than, “I don’t like sand. It’s coarse and rough and irritating and it gets everywhere. Not like here. Here everything is soft and smooth,”? Probably. But a cheesy line has never made me love my younger brother any less, so why would it with Star Wars? For me it’s all the same.

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So there you have it. That is what Star Wars means to me. To most people it means a lot less, and that’s cool. I don’t expect them to love it as much as I do. Wish, yes, but not expect. And I understand that most people haven’t grown up with it in their lives the way I did. We can’t change how we grew up. For me Star Wars goes beyond fandom to family. I know it has its problems, but I’ll always love it, and it will continue to be unconditional.

Until next time…

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A New Venture – TV Talk

I am a big fan of television. Perhaps too big a fan, some might say. I always have been, ever since I was a kid marveling at the adventures of Michael Knight and KITT on Knight Rider, and over the past several year TV has been responsible for some of the greatest storytelling I’ve ever seen (e.g., LOST, Battlestar Galactica, Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Breaking Bad). When Aaron Peterson asked me to be on the co-hosts on his The Hollywood Outsider podcast I jumped at the opportunity since it meant I would get to chat weekly with people who were just as nerdy about movies and television as I was. But, recently I was presented with another venue for my love, and I wanted to tell you about it in case you’re as geeky about TV as I am.

As their site properly states, TV Talk is the hottest new brand in second-screen TV entertainment. Using their app — which is available for iOS and Google mobile devices — you can listen to 20 minute chats between two knowledgeable hosts as they discuss what happened on your favorite show, speculate about what’s to come, and present intriguing questions of the week to get you engaged and interacting via the app. It is a completely free service, so don’t worry that you’re going to be charged anything. Get the app for free, pick which shows you like to watch, and it will download the TV Talk episodes for you. That is pretty easy! And it’s totally free!

Now, I will be co-hosting two shows for TV Talk. They will be Grimm and Sleepy Hollow. Grimm returns to television October 25th, so there will be a little while before we start talking about it, but Sleepy Hollow premiers September 16th, which is just over a week from now. Aaron, whom I mentioned earlier, is hosting that show with me, and a premier episode has already been released in which we talked about the original Washington Irving short story, what we know about the upcoming show, and how they relate and diverge from one another. I sincerely hope you’ll give it a listen and then try more TV Talk shows.

Anyway, that’s all from me for now. Please check out TV Talk and then let me know what you think. I wouldn’t have joined up with them if I didn’t feel like it was a quality service. I’m confident you will too. Click on the image below to get started.

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My Top 5 Sci-Fi TV Shows Of All Time

Okay, I thought that some of the people who come here might want to know a bit more about what makes me tick, and one of the best ways to know someone is to know their passions, their likes, what it is that they appreciate and admire. I’ve talked about some of that before, but perhaps a weekly list of my favorite things would help. My first list, then, will be something that I’m especially passionate about — sci-fi TV. Science fiction runs through my veins, and of course being a member of Generation X I was raised on television, so it’s no great surprise that sci-fi TV shows would be something I would be heavily steeped in. I hope you enjoy this little experiment, and if so, let me know in the comments section. Now, here we go…

… But first, a little disclaimer. I’m one of those people who’s a stickler about genre labels. I’m all for style mash-ups and blending genres, but for the purposes of this list I wanted to keep to solid, without-question sci-fi television. Some of my favorite shows have sci-fi elements to them (hell, even Buffy had a robot or two during its run), but here I’m going purely and unequivocally science fiction, meaning that the story is based on science, no matter how fantastical. If mysticism or fantasy takes equal or greater prominence to the story, then it’s out. Okay? Okay. Then let’s go.

Justin’s #5 Sci-Fi Show Of All Time
If you’d told me a couple of years ago that Doctor Who would be my fifth favorite sci-fi show of all time, I’d have slapped you across the mouth and called you a filthy liar. Luckily you didn’t do that, so I don’t have to make an awkward apology to you now. Yes, Doctor Who is amazing. Once the province of British citizens and effete TV elitists, Doctor Who is now a truly world-wide phenomenon, and much of the credit for that goes to Russell T. Davies, who helped bring the show back to life in 2005 and served as its head writer. Well done, sir!

I probably wouldn’t have given Doctor Who a chance were to not for two people. The first is Amanda Cales, a woman I came to know through my Dead Robots’ Society podcast. She constantly sang the show’s praises, and since I respected her opinion, I knew it was something I should look into. The second person was Christopher Eccleston, the actor who played the role of the Doctor in its 2005 return to television. I was familiar with Eccleston through two movies he’d been in (“Gone In 60 Seconds” and “28 Days Later”), but it was his role in the TV show Heroes that made me want to see more of his work. So, when those two things collided, I picked up Series 1 of the new Doctor Who on DVD.

And, I loved it. Definitely British, but in all the right ways. The Doctor was a more frenetic character than I’d expected from the fleeting clips I’d seen of previous Doctors from the 60’s and 70’s, but that was okay. And then, when David Tennant came on to play the Doctor (you have to watch the show to see why different people play him over time), that frenetic vibe went through the roof. The latest Doctor is played by Matt Smith, who is much younger than any previous actor who’s played the role. I’ll be honest, I expected the quality of the show to dip with his entrance to the show. Not only was he really young (which I figured was a transparent attempt by the BBC to get a younger audience), but his companion was also young (watch the show to understand why he has companions). Even worse, though, was the fact that Russell T. Davies had left the show, and in his place was Steven Moffat, someone who’d written some previous episodes but who I wasn’t overly familiar with. Now Moffat was suddenly the head writer, show runner, and executive producer. It’s easy to see why I was apprehensive, but thankfully the show has not only continued to be good, it’s been amazing. I actually think that Matt Smith’s Doctor is the best yet, and the scope of the show has expanded in fantastic ways. Hell, last season they even did some filming right here in the USA, and that was a first for the show.

Now, after explaining all that, what it is about Doctor Who that I love? I think it’s the breadth of the story they’re telling. The show constantly takes risks, it never goes where you think it’s going to, and the occasional infusion of new cast members means it never gets stale. Yes, sometimes the makeup and special effects can get sketchy, but so what. It’s the story that counts, and any show that’s willing to do the work it takes to create plots and subplots that take entire seasons or more to tell is a show I’m going to support. If you’ve not watched Doctor Who, and you’re a fan of sci-fi, then do yourself a favor and pick up the Eccleston season. You don’t have to know a single thing about the show prior to that, as they bring you up to speed gracefully. Go, watch it. I’ll wait…

Justin’s #4 Sci-Fi Show Of All Time
When I heard that they were rebooting Battlestar Galactica, I couldn’t have been more bored. Why do it? I hadn’t cared one bit about the original version, so what could they possibly do that would make a new version worth a crap? Oh, man, how little I knew. Suffice it to say they did a lot. What started off as a sci-fi tale of flesh versus steel quickly became a spiritual story about what it means to be human, what it means to have a soul.

Battlestar Galactica was everything I’d wanted Star Trek: Voyager to be – dark, dangerous, gritty, uncompromising. Nothing was ever easy for the crew of the Galactica, and the struggles they went through went far past the flesh into realms most sci-fi shows are too scared to even look at. I was constantly amazed at how unflinching the show’s writers would be, and how they could keep upping themselves. I implore you to go and watch the miniseries that started the reboot, and then watch the season one opener “33.” If you’re not hooked after that, I don’t know if we can be friends.

Justin’s #3 Sci-Fi Show Of All Time
The X-Files was the show that made me believe (for fans of the show, please pardon that pun) that television could produce something truly profound. I was so used to shows that only went skin deep, that wrapped everything up and moved on by episode’s end, so when The X-Files came along and created something that had depth and that told its story over weeks and months, I was hooked. It didn’t hurt that the two leads — David Duchovny as Agent Fox Mulder and Gillian Anderson as Agent Dana Scully — were incredibly charismatic and had wonderful chemistry with each other. This show had the perfect ingredients to make the sort of TV stew I could eat for years and years.

Sadly, The X-Files came in like a lion yet went out like a lamb. As much as I respect show creator Chris Carter for what he did, I’ll always wonder why he didn’t take a firmer hand with the show and guide it toward a definitive ending. The X-Files became a victim of its own success, not to mention the lack of story care it really needed. Had Carter or someone else stepped up and put it on a definitive track that had a known ending, I think The X-Files would have been the stuff of legends. Now, for most people, it’s just an interesting footnote. Personally, in spite of its failings and flaws, I still love the show. When it was hitting on all cylinders, I really was a marvel to behold. And, it also spawned a short-lived spin-off called The Lone Gunmen that was as funny as it was brief.

As a closing thought on the show, I know there’s been talk about doing another movie. If that’s true, and if Christ Carter is reading this, please make a movie that deals with the 2012 alien invasion that the show always talked about. It was laid out in the show that the aliens would come in force, and that 2012 was their due date. Well, that’s next year, and I can’t think of a better way to send the show off into history than to tell that final story. If there’s a god out there, this will happen.

Justin’s #2 Sci-Fi Show Of All Time
Some of you might be wondering why it’s taken me so long to mention a Star Trek show, and others might be wondering why this isn’t #1. To both of you I say, hear me out. I love Star Trek, and have ever since The Next Generation started in 1987, which was also my Freshman year of high school. Perhaps it was kismet that the year I started to really mature as a person is also the year I became a Star Trek fan. I’d of course seen episodes of the original series when I was younger, and I’d seen the movies, but they’d never really done anything for me. I think it was because they were artifacts of their time, and as a kid I was interested in the new, the hot, the now. Well, in ’87, that was exactly what Star Trek: TNG was. Picard was my first captain, Q my first Trek villain, and I’ve not been the same since. The season five episode entitled “The Inner Light” is one of the most powerful, most profound hours of television that’s ever been produced, and I dare anyone to say otherwise.

Now, even though TNG is the series I’m highlighting here, let me say that I respect all the series that Star Trek has produced, even the lesser ones (cough*Enterprise*cough*Voyager*cough), but TNG was my first Trek love, and I suspect it’ll always be my greatest. It was so unlike the sci-fi loves that had come before it, and I think it helped round me out as a genre fan. I’m just as eager to discuss Star Trek as I am Star Wars or anything else. I don’t believe you have to be either a Trek fan or a Star Wars fan. I love them all, each for their own gifts and quirks. I’ll boldly go to a galaxy far, far away, and be happy to do it.

But, if this is a sci-fi TV show list, and I’ve put Star Trek at #2, then what could possible be better? Funny you should ask…

Justin’s #1 Sci-Fi Show Of All Time
Babylon 5, baby! Yep, this might be heresy to some, but I don’t care. For my money, sci-fi television gets no greater than B5. This show is DEEP, its story is COMPLEX, and if you really want to understand its full glory, you HAVE to watch it from the very beginning. It’s part Star Trek, part Star Wars, part Excalibur, and part Lord of the Rings. Does that sound odd? Hell yeah it does, but it works. It works like gangbusters! I have yet to convince someone to give it a shot who hasn’t come back thanking me. More than any other show I’d ever seen, Babylon 5 didn’t give a crap about episodic television. If you want your story wrapped up at the end of the episode, or at the end of the season, think again. B5 was a five-season long adventure right from the very beginning, and even though things got rocky near the end, it stayed true and told that five-year story from beginning to end. I was blown away by how it all came together to reach its crescendo, and you will be too if you give it a chance.

A quick word though, before you run out and buy the series (you were going to do that, right?) — even though the show was planned from the beginning to last five seasons, with every season mapped out well in advance, things didn’t go as planned. PTEN, the network B5 aired on, told show creator J. Michael Straczynski that he wasn’t going to get his full five seasons, and would in fact have to wrap it up in the fourth. So, as you can imagine, he had to scramble to truncate the story, cutting out plots all over the place to hone in on the central story. Well sure enough, after all that was done, the TNT network came along and gave Straczynski his fifth season after all, which he filled out by taking some of those cut plots and making them into a new season story, as well as finding new ways to bring the finished story along for the ride. In spite of that sort of Frankenstein treatment, the end result was still amazing. I defy anyone to watch the final episode, “Sleeping In Light,” and not tear up. I do, every single time.

Babylon 5 is a magnificent achievement not just in sci-fi television, but also in plain old storytelling. I owned the show when it was on VHS, I own it now on DVD, and I’ll own it when it comes out in a new format. It is television at its finest, and I recommend it to everyone I meet – genre fan or not. Thank you, Mr. Straczynski. Thank you so much. You’ve given me a gift I don’t think I can ever repay.

Now, before we go, let me list a few shows that nearly made the cut but didn’t make it for whatever reason. Maybe here you’ll see a show you thought I should have mentioned.

LOST – This show is without doubt my favorite show of all time. Yep, I think that highly of it. BUT, while it has some sci-fi trappings, it’s not really sci-fi. It’s a spiritual story more than anything else, a fantasy. I wanted to list it here, if only so that I could once again sing its praises, but I couldn’t.

Firefly – I have no doubt that had the Fox Network not been complete morons and given Joss Whedon more episodes and more seasons to tell the story of Firefly, it would have eventually ended up as my #1 show. How can I say that with such certainty? Because even though Firefly only lasted for eleven episodes (fourteen episodes were actually produced, and you can see them all on DVD and Blu-Ray), it still nearly landed at my #1 spot. It’s THAT good! But, for this list I wanted shows that had lasted at least a couple of seasons, that had had a chance to develop and grow. Still, Firefly is a spectacular show, and the hatred I feel toward Fox for cancelling it still burns bright and hot. If you’ve not watched it, please do so, and then watch the movie “Serenity,” which Paramount was kind enough to help Whedon make so that he could try and finish his story. It isn’t really finished, not by a damn sight, but it’s better than nothing…

The Adventures of Brisco County, Jr – This is one of those shows that not too many people seem to remember, which I guess is why it only lasted one season, though at least the idiots at Fox let this one go for a more than full 27 episode count. From the outside, this show looked like a Western, but once you got into it you realized that this was really a sci-fi show, and I don’t know if people were really ready for that kind of thing. Bruce Campbell was so damn good as the titular character, he had a great cast to work off of, and as silly as the show could be it was always grounded by its heart. Another Fox blunder.

Farscape – I avoided this show for a long time, figuring it was just muppets in space, but I couldn’t have been more wrong, and I’m glad I eventually wised up. This show is unlike anything else you’ll ever see, and everyone involved gave it their all. And, it probably has one of the ballsiest stories TV has ever produced, in that Earth and we humans play next to no role in it at all outside of the main character. Everyone else is an alien, and all the action takes place on the far side of the universe. And, for a show that had a lot of prosthetic characters, it had more heart and emotion than most fully human shows could ever hope to produce.

And… yeah, I think that’s it. I could go on about more shows, like Andromeda and Chuck and Space: Above & Beyond, but really at this point I’m just flogging a tired horse. I hope you enjoyed this excursion into my mind, as crazy as it can be, but I especially hope that it has encouraged you to take a look at a show you might have avoided before, or maybe didn’t even know existed. I have no idea what list I’ll put together next time, so if you have a suggestion, please let me know.

Good night, and be well.

Just a quick update

There are times when I wonder if updating this blog serves any purpose. I rarely get comments or emails, and by rarely I mean once in a blue moon, so does anyone even read it? Perhaps if I put up notices on Twitter and Facebook letting people know I made an update, that might draw more people in. I’ll have to give that a try.

Anyway…

First, an update on my writing and the upcoming books. It looks like A MINOR MAGIC will be the first to hit the market. We’re hoping for a November/December release. And then, somewhere around March of 2012, you should see HAYWIRE come out. I’d like a bit more space between then, but I won’t know if that’s possible until dates firm up a touch more. I’ll keep you in the loop. And as for STILL WATER, I took a break the past two weeks to work on my podcast’s anthology plus to rest for a few days, but next week I’ll get back into it hardcore. If I’m not done with it by the end of October I’ll be upset with myself.

Speaking of podcasts, I’m still doing two of them right now. The Dead Robots’ Society is nearing it’s 200th episode, which doesn’t include all the convention panels, special episodes, and audio dramas we’ve produced, so in reality we have over two-hundred files available for download right now. I’m proud of what we’ve accomplished with it. But I’m also still co-hosting with the guys over at The Hollywood Outsider. If you haven’t listened to it yet, I really encourage you to, especially if you like movies and TV shows. I have a lot of fun doing it, and the guys I host with are a lot of fun. I wish they lived closer so that I could hang out with them in person. Please, do yourself and us a favor, and give it a spin. We just put out our ninth episode.

If you’re interested at all in video games, I just finished replaying Gears Of War 1 and 2 in preparation for playing the third game, and I also just finished playing a new RPG (that’s Role Playing Game for you non-gamers) called X-MEN: DESTINY. As you can tell from the title, it is a comic book game, but with an RPG feel. It’s not the best RPG I’ve ever played (Hey, Bioware, what’s up? Get Mass Effect 3 out NOW!), but it was still a lot of fun. I’d give it a solid 8 out of 10.

I think that’s it for now. This brings you up to date on where I am with some of my projects, and as they develop I’ll post ’em here and keep you in the loop. Thanks for coming, and please let me know what you think regarding anything I’ve talked about.

Oh, before I go, please notice the new icons I’ve put at the bottom of this post. I got the idea for this from Robin Sullivan, and I’m hoping they’ll help in keeping people connected with me and what I’ve working on. If you see any problems with them, or have other ideas, please let me know.

Take care.

Firefly on Science Channel!

Just as a reminder, the Sunday (March 6th) the Science Channel will be airing the entire series of FIREFLY. It’ll be in HD, and it’ll be aired in the order it was originally intended. FIREFLY is one of my favorite shows of all time, and Fox earned my undying hatred when they canceled it. Please tune it and watch the show on the Science Channel, not only to support them for doing such a good thing, but also to show that there’s still plenty of love for FIREFLY out there.

And how, a promo for the show to whet your appetite..

Comic-Con – Day Two

Yeah, I’m about done. That didn’t take long, did it? I guess as I get older I have less and less patience for what I consider to be bullshit. All the endless crowds and lines and asshole people have conspired to drain just about all the fun out of this experience. Such a shame.

Now, don’t get me wrong. I have had me some fun. Yesterday I got to see Joss Whedon and Nathan Fillian in person, and that was a blast (my wife especially enjoyed the Fillian part – she loves her some Captain Hammer/Malcome Reynolds), and seeing the cast and writers from Family Guy and American Dad was great, but it’s everything surrounding those things that wore me out. By the time we were out of there, I had nothing left in me. And this morning, when I got up, I knew I couldn’t face another round offighting people and standing in lines, so I’m going to miss the Hereos and Lost panels. Not that I could have gotten into those anyway since people started lining up last night at midnight to get into those. I am bummed.

Plus, my wife is even more tired of it. She had planned on trying to get Dean Koontz’s autograph and sit in on his panel, but now she doesn’t even want to go back into the con at all. I hate that, because I knew she was really looking forward to that, and knowing that her fun has been taken away tarnishes the experience a bit for me.

Anyway, today I’ll I’m going to do is go the Starkville/Tenth Wonder panel, and then possibly see if I can find the Geekscape podcast, and then I’m going to leave.

I don’t think I’ll be coming back to the con for at least a couple of years. It’s just too much, and my patience is too little. Here’s hoping Dragon*Con proves to be a more enjoyable experience.

Comic-Con – Day One

Dear lord, my feet are sore, and I think I nearly drowned in geekness. Yesterday was a Preview Night, with most of the time taken up by just getting our four-day passes (why they don’t mail them is beyond me, especially given the chaos of that process), but once we had our passes we went into the con and checked it out. First off, it is HUGE. I think the building is about five or so city blocks long, but after winding your way through throngs of people it might as well be five miles. My wife and I wandered a bit and bought a few shirts before she bugged out while I stuck around the do an interview with Jonathan London (http://www.geekscape.net). The walk out of there and back to our hotel felt like it took all the strength that I had left in me.

Once I was back in the room, I settled in at the small table, opened the program guide, and began to map out what panels I wanted to see. It was a healthy list. I then eat a burger, took a shower, and went to bed.

This morning my feet felt pretty good, which surprised me. My wife decided to rent a car so that she could tool around San Diego and perhaps go to Tijuana while I geeked out. Traffic nearly kept me from making it to my first scheduled panel, which was a solo discussion given by J. Michael Straczynski about professional writing. Luckily, I made it, and It was fantastic. On a down note, though, the recording I took of it is really quiet. I’m hoping that I can pump up the volume of his voice so that it is easier to listen to without also pumping up louder bits. We shall see. I then went to another panel (not as good), was somewhat forced to sit through another panel (meh), but then got to sit in on a fairly interesting talk. The recording on it was better. But, by the time that one was over, so was I. I managed to make it throuh one more, but that one was strictly for me. It was a spotlight panel on Bill Willingham, the writer of Fables, one of my favorite comics.

Once the panels were done I wanted to roam around the con floor a bit to pick up some new books and such. And, I managed to find a few good ones, but it took me hours to find them in the midst of everything else. Some cool finds just aren’t worth the pain.

Anyway, tomorrow is another day, but this time I’m going to take it easy. I’m going to skip a panel in the late morning and just try to get in early enough to get a seat in the Joss Whedon panel, which will be followed by panels for American Dad and Family Guy. I’m hoping I’ll leave tomorrow in better shape than I’m in now. Otherwise… ooff.

And with that, I bid you all a good night…

I can now call myself a published author

Yep, that’s right. I actually made a sale. One of my short stories was accepted by the online sci-fi magazine Ray Gun Revival (www.raygunrevival.com), and it will be published soon. The pay was small, but the validation and encouragement more than make up for it. I’m really excited. I’ll post more when I know more. So, for now, know that I’m one happy guy.

Also, I’ll be off this weekend to Comic-Con in San Diego (which in German means a whale’s vagina – true story). I’ve been looking forward to this since I failed to go to last year’s Comic-Con. I purchased four day tickets for my wife and myself as soon as they were available. I’m hoping to sit in on a lot of panels, and maybe get an interview or two that I can play on my podcast. Wish me luck! Either way, I know I’m going to have a good time. I’ll also be snapping pictures like crazy, so expect to see some of those.

Anyway, bye for now!!

LOST just gets better and better

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You know, I’ve loved LOST from the very beginning. It was smarter than just about any show on the air, and to this day I think it’s smarter than 99.9% of everything else on TV. A lot of people have bitched and moaned that it’s lost its edge (pardon the pun) or that the writers have no clue as to where the show is headed. To that I say, bunk. While they might have started off winging it, I believe they’ve had a goal in mind since soon thereafter, and my conversation with Jesse Alexander (former writer/producer for LOST, now on Heroes – you can listen to it at my podcast website of www.deadrobotssociety.com) only convinces me more. And, while last season was a bit uneven, it was still amazing television, and by the end of it was I felt like I’ve been on a roller-coaster of master storytelling.

Tonight’s episode took all the stakes that had been established thus far, and raised them to a whole new level. Holy crap! I really just cannot wait to see where it goes next. Brilliant!

My television master calls to me again…

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Ugh, the new television season has started, and already it is killing me. Why can’t I be more disinterested in TV?! Old favorites like Heroes, Prison Break, Smallville, and Supernatural are back, but now they are joined by new shows that I think look incredibly interesting like Bionic Woman, Reaper, and Pushing Daisies. I’m hoping that one or two of those shows end up sucking, because I’m going to need the break. Thank the gods that Lost, 24, and Battlestar Galactica don’t kick back into gear for another few months, or I’d be a mess.

Oh, and let me give even more thanks to the inventors of the DVR. You guys have made my life much more simple, and for that you will have my undying appreciation.